Blind RAF veteran is looking forward to a fun Christmas thanks to Blind Veterans UK
9 December 2016 15:00
87 year old Raymond will celebrate the festive period with other vision-impaired ex-Service men and women supported by Blind Veterans UK.
Raymond will be visiting the charity’s training and rehabilitation centre in Brighton over Christmas for the first time.
He says: “I am really looking forward to spending Christmas with Blind Veterans UK. I am happy to mix in and make new friends.”
Raymond spent Christmas at home with his wife Jean last year, but sadly she passed away in September of this year.
Raymond joined the RAF University Air Squadron in 1949 where he served two years’ National Service. He was turned down from flying due to colour blindness, but instead he served in UK as an Electrical Mechanic Air/Ground, before being discharged on 3 Nov 1951 as a SAC.
His first experienced problems with his sight around twenty years ago. He was diagnosed with Ischaemic Optic Neuropathy and registered partially sighted. Since then his eyesight gradually deteriorated and he was no longer able to continue working as a draftsman.
He says, “As my sight got worse and worse I realised I had serious problems, it was very difficult”.
Fortunately, Raymond heard about Blind Veterans UK from a friend at Abingdon book club who was also a beneficiary of the charity. She encouraged him to get in touch and Raymond joined the charity in November 2015.
He adds: “Blind Veterans UK sent me a radio and a grant for my gardening. When they said something would be done, it was done. My family are very grateful for all the help they have given me and so am I.”
Raymond attended an induction week at Blind Veterans UK’s Brighton centre. He said, “I realised how many people there are like me. It made me feel much less alone and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience.”
Every year Blind Veterans UK invites ex-Service men and women who are at risk of being alone for Christmas to spend the week at one of the charity’s training and rehabilitation centres.
Raymond says: “I’m really looking forward to meeting new people. On my induction week we all introduced ourselves, and from then on, we were friends. I’m excited to be spending Christmas with some new faces.”
Blind Veterans UK is the national charity for blind and vision-impaired ex-Service men and women, providing vital practical and emotional support to help veterans discover life beyond sight loss. The charity estimates that there are currently 59,000 blind veterans that would be eligible to access its specialist support, most of whom are not currently aware of it.
If you, or someone you know, served in the Armed Forces or did National Service and are now battling severe sight loss, find out how Blind Veterans UK could help by calling 0800 389 7979 or visiting noonealone.org.uk.